Saturday, December 31, 2016
Frugal Friday: Good bye, Sweet '16
Saturday: We ran the AC on some this evening. I should have opened windows, as I knew it was going to be warmer. We will definitely be doing that tomorrow! I am not anxious to watch next electric bill rise just because I was careless in minding the weather.
Our meal today was simple and frugal. Leftover spaghetti meat sauce and a salad. I have enough leftover for a single entrée for one of the days John is working.
I failed to plan ahead for Channukah though I'd meant to do so. Well, I wasn't completely unprepared. We had gelt and I had a dreidel so we played that and enjoyed it. I will say that John's left handed spin is far better than my right handed one. It was my out and out refusal to give up all my gelt that left me with any at all, lol.
It was a lovely Christmas Eve. I had my books to read, we watched our favorite A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims and several other Christmas films.
I was inspired to look up one of the authors I'd been reading and found two of his books for $.01 each on Amazon, plus another for not too large a price. I used the $10Amazon gift card I'd purchased for 170 MyCokeReward points. Three books, a small amount of cash. Love that!
John and I had snorted over how short the hot dogs looked on the long piece of bread we were using as wrapper...Well I wasn't laughing later when I realized that the only dish I had to put hot dogs in was shorter in length than my usual choice...and the hot dogs fit it perfectly! I looked at the package and noted that there was now 2 ounces missing from the pound the package used to weigh. They shortened the hot dogs!! Manufacturer's strike a blow at consumer pocket once more. And we wonder sometimes why we don't get as much from the 'same brand and same package' we always buy! Just take a look at that net weight!
Sunday: We had our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of Orange rolls and Sausage Balls.
I started our potato dish in the crock pot before we left home for church.
I took a hint from Sarah and straight pinned my shirt, which had a tendency to slip from my shoulders, and sort of anchored it to my bra straps without piercing the strap. This worked admirably well and I will use this trick in the future. I was especially proud of this shirt as picked it up for $8 at Target from the clearance racks. I wore it with black pants but think I'd like that full tunic top best with straight legged pants or even leggings. Something I shall look for in the near future.
Came home to finish cooking our Christmas dinner. It wasn't hard to finish. All I had to do was cook steaks and put salad in a bowl. Everything was delicious.
Put two 2serving side dishes of Hash Brown Potatoes Casserole into the freezer. I've done this before and it doesn't hurt the texture or taste of the dish at all when it's heated once more.
We each had half a steak left. John was shocked he couldn't eat all of his. I wasn't in the least surprised and told him so. "You're accustomed to eating perhaps a 1/4 pound of meat at a time and often not quite that. Those steaks were a pound each with the bone." I expect to make two entrees from the leftovers.
I saved the pan juices and deglazed the pan as well. I saved that, too.
I expect we'll end up putting half this carrot cake into the freezer. I just need a suitable container to freeze it in.
Looked over the sales papers. There are a couple of After Christmas sales I'd like to take advantage of. I plan to at least go look.
I had planned to buy a really good quality wool blanket to replace our Vellux. John made comment that he personally liked the Vellux. Having had a hard time locating a Queen wool blanket, I went to look at Vellux on Amazon. Taking advantage of free shipping from Prime, and using a gift card we were given, I can practically pay the full price of the Vellux blanket. Bonus: I get the exact color I wanted as well. John will be happy, I'll be happy, and our purse will be happy. Win, win, win.
We've seen photos and videos of some of the grandchildren with their Santa presents and read texts from the children, had a special meal and put away leftovers. We also ran a full load of laundry, another full load of dishes. It's been a full day and it's been a grand one all day long. Oh and yes, we have the windows open! Yes, it was that warm today for Christmas, that we are sitting here with opened windows at present. 'Tis the season in Georgia.
Monday: I didn't let the house go completely this weekend, but I did take it a little easier. Well it showed in how long it took to set house in order this morning! I spent HOURS getting it back to where it ought to be. And that wasn't even deep cleaning, but just plain cleaning!
I cleaned the bathroom first this morning (shower will be tomorrow morning) and after I'd dusted and wiped and polished everything, I swept and then cleaned out the space under the sink cabinet. Much to my shock, I had a grocery bag full of trash to put out.
Dusted then polished furniture in our room, stripped bed and put away clothes. Remade the bed fresh and hung a picture. Repaired two handles on my antique dresser that have been off the dresser for years. Emptied up an almost empty bottle of lotion into one that was new but had a little space to spare.
Washed a full load of laundry (towels and sheets) and hung them on the line after I got back home. There was only a 10% chance of rain today but it's 10%ed every single place I went. Including here at home! Thankfully I don't need those items to be dry today so if they stay damp they can stay on the line overnight. Tomorrow is meant to be clear.
Righted the living room and dining area. I undecorated the little tree and watching copious needles fall of the thing, I thought back in my mind to how old that tree might be. I honestly believe I've had it since Katie was in grade school. I tossed it in the trash when I'd removed the ornaments.
I wanted something fresh and pretty for the sideboard. One of my lovely African Violets filled the spot nicely.
Cleared and cleaned the broom closet/trash cupboard.
Went around the kitchen from counter to counter, clearing and then cleaning. I unloaded the dishwasher and put away the clean things, then reloaded with dirty dishes. Not enough to wash, so left that. At last I was ready to settle down and put on my makeup so I could go to town. I checked out the sales sheets I'd laid aside yesterday nd immediately determined I'd toss two of them.
Left home with a bottle of water, a raincoat and my shopping bags and list. I stopped first at a dollar store to check out the half price ornaments. I saw some I liked but I really disliked the ones they were mixed with. I skipped purchasing any of them. I did choose three boxes of cards for $1.50 each. Next year's list is covered.
Went to the grocery. Took one look at the slow crawl of traffic going up the hill and decided that after all, I might as well avoid all that traffic and see how well I could do at the grocery and skip the trip in to see the half off priced items at Target and Hobby Lobby.
Event though it was nearly noon the baker bread rack were empty. No need to wait for a loaf either. I checked,. I made do with what I had that we could use.
I had circled the items wanted. I got at least two of everything that was buy one get one, one of anything simply on a good sale price.
I'd looked before Christmas at the rosemary bushes. $13...bah humbug I said. Today they were $6.50...all because they were trimmed into a tree shape. Ha! I have a new rosemary bush to replace my poor dead one. Put the carnations back I'd thought I'd purchase today. I don't need a new plant and fresh flowers, not when so many of my plants at home are currently flowering!
Ha again. I came home and noticed bright fresh green needles forming on my 'dead' rosemary. Now I'll have two bushes. No problem! I love rosemary and will happily use needles from both to season foods, freshen cars and linens, etc.
Cleared the mantel of Christmas décor. The potted ivy looks right at home there. I'm thinking this fresh green living plant touch is really all I need to make the rooms pretty for winter months ahead.
Talked myself right out of lunch and headed home to eat leftovers.
Had a very small piece of cake. Wrapped half the cake up really well and put in the freezer to keep for a company meal someday soon. We won't need all those extra calories, though there are still two slices left to have tomorrow.
Our PBS has a Downtown Abbey Marathon today. I forgot this was ongoing (good thing or none of the housework would have gotten done!) but caught it this evening. Joy, joy, joy!
Tuesday: I've found that a shower and dressing first thing each morning leads to a more productive day overall and I plan to keep this up throughout the new year. I get plenty done each day but I can make room to do more.
I went through the refrigerator this morning and cleaned and pulled things out. The lemons and limes kept for months but they are bitter as can be, so out they went. I lost 1/3 of a head of red cabbage I'd completely forgotten. Those were all the casualties thankfully.
I made fried rice for dinner today using a variety of items from the fridge.
I set a green cabbage end to root in a glass of water since it had nice roots already budded on the end. We'll see how that goes.
Chopped bell peppers and am flash freezing to put into a half gallon milk jug I've saved. I won't want a gallon them but I do like to keep green bell peppers on hand and frozen will do well in nearly all the recipes I make.
Took down Christmas decorations (all except the tree, though I did remove half the ornaments). I will be tossing the wreaths this year. They are simply too old and shedding dramatically each year. I have a ton of fresh cedar here on the place and think I can make my own wreaths from that next year as well as some garland.
John washed a small load of clothes. It's damp outdoors, still waiting on yesterday's load to dry, so he used the dryer.
I bought two bins yesterday, the sort with the latching lids. I figured just right on the height but failed on the width. You see, they were meant to go into the pantry. Well, I got one of them on the shelf and shifted things about in the closet and managed to leave enough space for more stocking on paper goods. I have plenty of room in the bin, too. It is for pasta and other dry goods. Currently it has a box of converted brown rice (an emergency item meant to be cooked quickly), 5 boxes of spaghetti, three of penne, and 5 boxes of the Ritz crackers John especially likes, the short stax. These are often on sale for the same price as the Aldi brand of crackers and we prefer the short pack which is just enough for two people snacking. This means the rest of the package keeps fresh longer.
As I said, there's plenty of room, so I added two boxes of taco shells that John wanted me to buy one day when they were on sale. He likes the store bought kind, sigh. I often find the homemade or semi-homemade things taste far superior but my husband wants what he says he's 'used' to though I don't have a clue when he got used to it since I've been feeding him for at least 25 years now.
I found three items on the pantry shelf that were about to expire. I'm not too concerned over those. I'll do a proper inventory tomorrow. I also found one item that expired a year ago. It's a jar of canned beets and appears to be well sealed and okay. I'll open them and then determine if I'm going to use them or not once I smell of them and can see them up close.
Next I sorted out the upper cupboards in the kitchen. I found a few things that have lanquished there for far too long. Not expired, but just not used and why on earth are they taking up my space if we're not eating them? Why did I pay to put them on the shelf? So I'll be planning those into meals over the next month. In fact, I am declaring January as my "USE IT UP" month.
Wednesday: I made a new to me recipe this morning for a German Pancake or a Dutch Baby. This was a frugal recipe, a little higher in protein than the usual pancakes. Despite a couple of stumbles (my pan not hot enough and John's sudden decision to shower just as the pancake was due out of the oven), it turned out pretty well. I halved the recipe I found on Pinterest but it's simple enough: This is for a 13 X 9 pan but as I said you can half it.
1 2/3 flour
4 tbsps. sugar
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick of butter
Preheat oven to 400F. Place stick of butter in the 13 x 9 pan and place in the oven. Mix all the other ingredients in blender. (I used a four cup measuring cup and whisk). When butter is melted and pan is really hot, pour the batter in, shut the oven door and let bake for 20 minutes.
I added a bit of orange zest to my batter and served it topped with a light sprinkle of confectioner's sugar and a drizzle of orange maple syrup (half an orange juiced and mixed with 1/4 cup maple syrup and warmed).
As I said despite my flubs this turned out very nice and good. I used a cast iron skillet, the author used a glass casserole, so just use whatever you have.
We went out today. No one home meant no use of extra electricity.
John bought lunch out. We opted for Dairy Queen's $5 lunch special.
I made a supper of loaded nachos with steak strips from leftover Christmas dinner steak. I finished off a jar of salsa that has been in the fridge for a little while. I saved the jar. I especially like salsa jars due to the wide mouth of the jar. They are handy for fridge storage of produce, especially a peeled onion or a couple of citrus fruits.
Thursday: Made oatmeal for breakfast and used up the last of the dates in it. No harm done. It added a slight sweetness and fiber.
Made John's work lunch.
I made Swedish meatballs for dinner. I could easily have served 3 or 4 with that recipe though I used just 1/2 pound ground meat.
While slicing potatoes for mashed potatoes, I diced some for hash browns for breakfast this weekend.
I washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. I allowed them to air dry.
Friday: I just felt unwell yesterday so my work was short and easily done. Well nothing like a good night's rest to set things right once more. I've had a very busy day of it. Not all money saving things but it's been full of the work of a home in several aspects.
Made John breakfast and packed his lunch for work.
Cleared up the kitchen. While the water was hot, I filled the mop bucket and mopped floors.
The tree was taken down and a load of things taken to the shed. I was running late to catch the post office open so I'm afraid for the second time this week I've shoved things in the shed and not put them away properly. I plan to remedy that next week.
Sorted through two boxes of the books I culled from the bookshelves. I've set aside those I plan to give away, a few I want to see if have value and two full boxes (I filled in the empty spots with more!) to be donated. I'll have John take those to the women's club for me as soon as they begin to collect for the year.
Cleaned both front and back porch with a second and third bucket of hot water. They both look much better and if I keep this up they oughtn't need quite as heavy a cleaning come spring summer, though we shall not have to wait that long to use either one. We're expecting temperatures in the very high 70's mid week next week, sigh. I do so long for a proper extended period of cold.
It was quite cold this morning and I'd not switched the AC off and the heat back on last night. I used the propane gas heater to help heat the house this morning. It was on for hours and even so the electric heat came on periodically to help push the temperature up. I was very appreciative of it after working on that cold and shaded back porch that was taking full brunt of that cold north wind this morning!
Sat down and worked up the bills box. I had a handful of things that I'd been waiting on the bills to arrive to pay. I sorted those out first and wrote checks and filled envelopes. Then I worked ahead on the bills for next pay period which is meant to be Monday. However, John texted me at noon to let me know that they were paid today, so I went ahead and wrote out those bills. I didn't mail them yet, as I'd just come in from town when he texted me.
I batched my trip into town with a trip to the dumpster to take off trash, picked up mail and went to post office. I stopped at the local diner and got a dinner (paid for from the last of my allowance).
Back home this afternoon I worked on my Home notebook and cleared my desk. I repurposed another binder with things I wanted to keep but had no room for in the Home notebook.
I made myself a chart of each of my sub account funds with due dates and the ability to plot my progress in filling them up. What fun to fill four of them in fully! I made progress this pay period in freeing up still more money and am happily filling up another sub account. With three pay periods for us this month I'll be able to make a good deal more progress over the next few weeks.
I had soup and a roll and a protein pack of snacks plus 1/3 of a very large apple for my supper tonight. And that brings this week to a conclusion. Please remember to pray for Lana's husband and I'll see you all in the New Year.